Category Archives: Ego

Your Medicine & Magic

Writing is my medicine, my magic. 

It is the tool through which my challenges and muddled thoughts alchemise into alignment, clarity, and wisdom.

Speaking the words doesn’t have the same effect for me – with the right person, it can be helpful to a degree, but the clarity fully crystallises only when my words are expressed in written form. 

It works best when I share it. My most potent words refuse be hidden in my journal. I no longer question the urge to share – I just know it’s a given, a force that effortlessly moves through me. To not share would be a challenge – it would require effort to halt the impulse. I used to do battle with my ego, who would tell me I’m an attention seeker, a show off, an exhibitionist. But the urge always won out anyway, and the replies from those who read suggest that my sharing is of value, is meant to be. 

My take on this: God is using me. The urge comes from Source. The felt impulse is God’s way of communicating with me, encouraging me to do that which is in alignment with Source energy. The love that the Universe is comprised of, wants to expand. And the more I align with the Source within me, the more the words flow. 

I’m learning to own it. 


That God uses me as a vehicle for the expansion of the universe makes me no more or less special than anyone else.  

We are all of God, and so the intelligence of the universe flows through us all. We all have our own unique medicine and magic. 

This Source of which we are all a part, is in constant communication with us, encouraging each and every one of us to embody our gifts. Even if you don’t believe you have anything special to offer, you do. There is medicine and magic within you, and it is unique to who you are. 

That thing you love to do. That thing that makes you smile. That thing that lights you up. That thing that you get lost in for hours. That thing that feels like home. That thing you find yourself absentmindedly gravitating towards. That thing that comes so easily to you. That thing that takes effort and practice and persistence, but that you joyfully persist with. Perhaps even that thing that you kinda suck at, but you love so much that you revel in sucking at it.

Even if you believe that none of this is part of you’re experience … there is something. You’ve simply lost your way, forgotten.  You’ve fallen out of alignment with your soul. It’s possible (and probable) that your “thing” is right in front of your nose, but you’ve fallen out of alignment to the degree that you’ve become blinded. You can’t hear the whisperings of your soul over the raging of your ego.

When you learn to find alignment with your soul, you can’t help but hear the messages that Source has been whispering to you all along.  With alignment, you recognise what it is that lights you up, feels so good, and contributes to the healing of the world. 

You were meant to thrive. When you feel good, that’s God’s message that you’re on track, because you’re in alignment with with Source instead of resisting God’s will. 

You possess medicine and magic within you. Own it, and thrive. And in doing so, you allow God to work through you. 

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Exhibitionist in hiding

I’m noticing, with curiosity and (my best attempt at) non-judgement, that I’m in a strange place at the moment.

These past few months have seen my health improve dramatically, after a really challenging period, in response to committed effort with the help and support of my health practitioners and family. This is such a joyful relief.

As I’ve improved physically, mentally and emotionally, I’ve become inspired to write and share again, after what felt like a long period of hibernation. It feels so good.

And yet, there’s a part of me that is holding back.

I am learning to accept and embrace that I love putting myself out there and sharing. And with my words and imagery, that is so joyful and satisfying. But it’s also safe, because I can hide behind my screen to achieve this. But there is a part of me that yearns to share more – more intimately, more of me. I don’t want to hide, I want to express myself.

There have been instances where I’ve contemplated sharing a photo or video of myself. Nothing outrageous, just more me.

But the contemplation doesn’t last long. I’m experiencing a period of self-consciousness & my self-confidence is shot, because it seems that the final frustrating and baffling hurdle of my health journey is stubbornly plastered across my face for the world to see. Painful cystic acne that has returned with a vengeance, rosacea, and eye problems that refuse to be hidden under makeup. It all got too much today, and I felt sore and sorry for myself, and the tears flowed.

I’m not fishing for sympathy or reassurance (or advice!). Reassurance is useless when you don’t believe it for yourself. And I trust that there’s a lesson for me in this experience, and that working through it myself, with selective support, will bring me to a place of acceptance and healing.

I’m sharing for the reason I always do – sharing about my experiences is part of who I am, it feels good, and it might serve someone who is reading.

It’s interesting to observe how this has rattled me. I take pride in my appearance, and like to look my best, but I didn’t consider myself to be vain or overly concerned with my looks. And yet, this experience has demonstrated that when my perception of my appearance falls so far short of what I believe to be an acceptable standard, it affects me in so many ways. How I show up in public. How I feel about socialising with friends and family. How I panic when a loved one moves to kiss me on the cheek. How much I avoid interacting with strangers. What my inner voice says when I look in the mirror. And how I hide as much as possible.

There was a point when I thought that the best thing for me to do would be to overcome this self-consciousness by feeling the fear and doing it anyway – selfies, videos, just rip off the bandaid and get over it. But on reflection, I don’t think that’s what I need, I don’t think it would be helpful, and it’s just not where I’m at. Vulnerability can be a beautiful thing, but it needs to be held in a container of trust. It’s self preservation to know the difference between baring your soul in a trusting relationship compared with the local gossip. And putting my face online right now would feel like giving the town gossip flyers to hand out to everyone with the headline “Doesn’t she look hideousl!”

I’ll come out of my shell and grow my visibility when I’m good & ready. It’s healthy to acknowledge that I don’t possess the trust required to so yet. And it’s ok to be gentle with myself. I make the rules.

In the meantime, I’ll keep sharing from the heart, from behind the screen, in the way that feels good. 😘


Image by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

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Do you modulate your light?

I’ve been recognising a pattern in myself lately, that I teased out in a kinesiology session with my miracle-worker Sarah from Ignite Kinesiology (note: I do acknowledge that our sessions are actually a collaboration 😊) .  

I’ve been a people pleaser, I’m an introvert (some would scoff, but it’s truth!), and I often experience (mild) social anxiety. The truth is, on some level, I’m kinda scared of people (or more accurately, the power I give others to determine my self worth is scary). I’ve recognised lately that the combined energy of these traits has me modulate the way I interact with people, in an attempt to accomodate their energy, and therefore avoid being negatively judged. 

A simple example is when I’m taking my morning walk.  A while back, I decided to be brave and to greet passers by, something that felt like an uncomfortable stretch. The friendliness/volume/energy of my “hello” to passers-by will depend on how I assess their energy – Do they look friendly? Are they likely to reply? Will they think I’m a weirdo? … I’ll offer a hearty greeting to the person with a big smile and a jaunty step, I’ll be brave enough to mumble a “Morning” to the quiet-looking person minding their own business, and I’ll keep my mouth shut if someone looks grumpy or judgemental.

I acknowledge the importance of situational energy assessment and behaviour modulation in relating with others. But I think there’s a line to be drawn between appropriately managing/negotiating an interaction, and dimming your light. 

It’s so easy to shine your brightest when you feel confident in being well received. When another person is on the same page, likes you, supports you, and openly demonstrates all this, you feel held and encouraged to be your best. 

It’s not so easy to bring your best self to a situation if your ego feels threatened or vulnerable. If someone doesn’t like you, is focused on their own problems, or holds strong opinions in opposition to your own, there’s a good chance that your ego will take a battering if you share yourself in all of your fullness. 

But what has become more apparent to me recently, is that when I allow my egoic protection mechanisms to modulate how brightly I shine my light, a beautiful opportunity is missed. 

What if, I took a chance, recognising that an ego slam isn’t death, and opened my heart, despite the fear?  

I could be laughed at. 

I could be ignored. 

I could have to engage in an uncomfortable conversation. 

Unpleasant experiences perhaps, but not the end of the world. 

Or …

I could brighten someone’s day. 

I could remind someone to smile. 

I could make someone feel good. 

I could re-ignite the light in another. 

I’ve been avoiding these opportunities, allowing my ego to dictate my actions. Survival mechanisms are hard-wired, and it takes a willingness and conscious effort to move beyond them. 

But as I clarify my desired energy, experiences, interactions and impact in this lifetime, I can recognise that letting my ego steer the ship doesn’t support any of that. Engaging with others from a higher perspective – a soul perspective – is what will. As Sarah helped me to realise, when I’m embodying my desired energy, people receive my light, and this is the driver of my possibility. 

So I’ll start with my morning walk. And I’ll continue experimenting. 

How about you? Do you modulate your light?

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Desire is of the Divine

For the longest time, the negative voice in my head, that I had always thought was me, ruthlessly scolded and shamed me for my dissatisfaction, for desiring more. And for the longest time, thinking that the voice was me, I believed every word. And so, for the longest time, I felt so much guilt. I thought it meant I was ungrateful for my blessings, and undeserving of more. I felt so guilty and ashamed, that the very idea of ever actually attempting to achieve that “more” would be immoral. And of course, when I worked up the audacity to try anyway, subconscious self-sabotage reigned.

But now that I know that the negative voice isn’t me, now that I’m recognising that I can hear it and disagree with it, I’m realising something else. I perceive bodily sensations that come along with these thoughts, and I realise, in hindsight, that they’ve been present all along.

My body bristles, seething in rebellion against the restriction of denying my desires. I previously mistook the discomfort of these feelings to be confirmation that my yearnings for better and more were wrong and should thus be quashed. But I know now, on reflection, that this visceral sensation is my body communicating to me that my thoughts about my desires are out of alignment with the divine source within me.

Desires are meant to feel good. Their purpose is to drive us to achieve or obtain something. They’re the motivation behind virtually everything we do. Even when we’re pursuing seemingly selfless aims, we do so because we know that doing the “right” thing will make us feel good (or at least prevent feeling bad), and we desire to feel good and avoid feeling bad. Desires are part of our design; they are of the divine.

Nothing is inherently good or bad, right or wrong. It is our critical mind, with all its conditioning, that makes judgements of right from wrong, good from bad. It is only when this judgemental mind gets involved that we work ourselves into a mess over our desires. We load them with meaning, heaviness, and struggle.

By all means, use the gift of your critical thinking to assess and confirm whether a desire is truly in alignment with your highest good. But once you’ve confirmed that it is, leave it at that. Continued analysis is likely to be that critical voice, hijacking your desires.

Dream your dreams. Revel in your wishes. Fill your imagination with the glories of all that your heart and soul desires. Allow yourself to feel the light-hearted, deep joy that their manifestation will bring. It’s all a part of your divine purpose.


Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

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LIFE INTENDED

Thoughts: What am I doing? What do I want to do? What is my purpose? Motherhood isn’t my be all and end all, I know there is more. I try stuff, but it doesn’t quite feel right. I get excited about stuff, but I eventually lose my enthusiasm. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been floundering with this for ever.  I think I’m destined to live, stuck in this limbo of “not knowing”, for the rest of my life. I’m a failure. Always have been. Always will be.

Feelings: Frustration. Annoyance. Despair. Shame. Resignation.

Thoughts: Hold on. Practice presence. Observe the thoughts. They’re not the truth. They’re not me, because I’m the one observing them.


Frustrations climaxed as I struggled with my ego one again.  When I finally began to quiet my mind and go within last week, this 2 word phrase  – LIFE INTENDED – came to me. Since then, it has continued to flutter into my awareness, seemingly wanting to make itself known.  Something about it feels so right, but it’s taken some reflection to tease out exactly what this phrase is about for me.

My life experiences, especially since becoming a mother, and even more significantly over the past 12 months, have ignited a rage within me. A rage about the fact that we, as a species, have fallen so out of sync with what LIFE INTENDED, and that this is hurting us deeply, even destroying us. I want to share with you (a non-exhaustive list of) what is enraging me.


In our modern society, we (mostly mothers) raise our children largely in isolation, brewing stress, emotional disharmony, mental illness (particularly post-natal depression), and overall ill health. So many of us believe that if we’re not attending to everyone’s needs, maintaining our home, contributing to the household income, keeping up a social life, looking hot, and following our dreams, we aren’t doing it right. We even believe that if we’re not super busy and stressed and exhausted, we must be lazy.

We live in climate controlled, airtight (even energy efficiency has its down side) homes and workplaces, cut off from the nature of which we are a part.

We eat chemically-laden, highly processed foods that our ancestors wouldn’t even recognise, that mess with the intricate and perfect physiological design of our masterpiece bodies, causing imbalance and ill health. Even if we eat what most would consider a “healthy” diet filled with real food (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, meats, seafood etc.), if it’s conventionally farmed, it’s still hurting us thanks to all the chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics and more that are considered essential for modern farming practices.

We sit and stare at screens, often for hours at a time, straining our eyesight, destroying our posture, and addicting ourselves to passive digital entertainment, social media, and the dopamine rush of “follows” and “likes”.

We expose ourselves to artificial light, messing with our circadian rhythms, our hormones, our ability to get the quality sleep that our bodies need.

We expose ourselves to thousands of chemicals via air pollution, transportation, off-gassing from furniture and household fixtures and fittings, cleaning products, personal care products, air fresheners, medications and more, again messing with our physiology.

We visit doctors, expecting pills to cure our ills, creating side effects and failing to address what caused the issue in the first place.

We consume media, believing the hype, forgetting to question the source, the purpose, the money trail.

We have ravaged our environment: polluting seas and lands, decimating forests, triggering mass extinctions, slaughtering fertile lands, depleting natural resources and instigating catastrophic climate change.

We put our heads in the sand, because it’s all too hard – someone else will deal with it. Or we seek all of the answers outside of ourselves, having long forgotten the access we have to eternal wisdom within us. We’ve lost our way.

This was never what LIFE INTENDED.

Sometimes, I yearn to escape this madness, to get off the grid and back to nature to reconnect with that which LIFE INTENDED. To live how LIFE INTENDED us to live. Don’t scoff – I’m as attached to my modern conveniences as the next person, but a part of me knows that this way of life comes as a tremendous, devastating price.  And so I fantasise.

The rage has bubbled up within me again this year as I’ve suffered the consequences of living out of sync with what LIFE INTENDED. Multiple hormonal imbalances. Depression. Anxiety. Overwhelm. Brain fog. Memory and word recall problems. Addictive behaviours. A crippling lack of self-esteem. Disconnection. And more – all of the cascading set of symptoms that essentially stem from the same source: not living as LIFE INTENDED.

These consequences – this was never what LIFE INTENDED.

So, what was it that LIFE INTENDED for us?

To live in harmony with nature, because that is what we are.

To be in community (in person, not just online). To raise our families with abundant support. To rest when we’re tired. To spend most of our time outdoors. To eat from nature’s bounty. To move our bodies every day. To rise with the sun and sleep when it sets. To utilise nature’s gifts. To value and care for our environment. To be attuned to our own intuition, our connection with Source.

I know that I’m not off my rocker in recognising this. I do appreciate many of the modern marvels and gifts of our ingenuity, the advances that we’ve made in medicine, technology, science and more. I’m not suggesting that we throw this all away to live as the animals do. But I believe, with all of my heart, that we desperately need to find balance, back toward what LIFE INTENDED.

Changing our ways, globally, is a dauntingly massive task, but the ache in my heart knows that it’s vital. The rage within is a gift, communicating the urgency and importance of such an undertaking.

I don’t want to focus on the problem. It was necessary that it to be brought to my attention, so that I could crystallise what it is that I’m aiming to achieve. And now, I know.

It’s time to focus on living as LIFE INTENDED.  It’s what I’ve been trying to work my way towards, without having specifically identified it as such.  But all the research, reading, podcast listening, documentary watching, meditating, diet changes, lifestyle changes, habit changes, purchasing changes … everything has been geared towards this: supporting myself and my family to live closer to the way LIFE INTENDED.  The purpose I’ve been searching for has been weaving it’s way into my life for years now.  It’s not something else “out there”.  It’s here, what I’m already doing, for me and my family.

If you’re so inclined, I’d love to support you to do the same.



Main image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

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Weaving webs of consciousness

My heart aches.  A dull and persistent ache.  I feel it distinctly, physically, and yet I know, with a quiet confidence, that it is not from some physical pathology.  It’s an energetic, emotional ache.  I’m well practised, as I believe so many of us are, at ignoring it.  At getting on with things, relegating it down to the bottom of the list of priorities, because life is “busy”.  From time to time I notice it and acknowledge it.  When I get still and quiet, there is space for it to be felt and acknowledged.  I question where it comes from.  At times it builds to a seemingly “out-of-the-blue” and unexplainable fit of anxiety.  I do my best to squash it, to make it go away.  But it doesn’t.  It stays.  Waiting for me to listen to its message.


The morning was cold and foggy.  After the rigmarole of school drop off, I rugged up and headed out for my morning walk, looking forward to moving my body in the crisp cool air.  Not long after reaching the wetlands, a 2 minute walk from my front door, I was greeted with spider webs.  Hundreds and hundreds of dew-drop covered spider webs covering almost every tree, bush and plant along my trail.  Web covered branches reminded me of fairy floss sticks, wrapped in the gauzy layers of spiders silk.  Single strands stretched loosely from bush to bush.  Spectacular orb webs were to be found here and there, and every corner of every railing was decorated in patterns of strung pearls.  The spiders had spent a very productive night.

 

Whilst I marvelled at the beauty of their creations, it struck me that the Spider, one of my Soul Essences, hadn’t occupied my thoughts in quite some time.  Always seeking to understand the communications of the Universe, I wondered “Is she speaking to me now through this marvellous display?”  Surely she must be; it seemed so blatantly obvious that she was pulling out all the stops to garner my attention with such an extravagant exhibition laid out before me on my path where it would be virtually impossible to ignore.  Whilst I’m always seeking to understand the messages of the Universe, there are plenty of times when I succumb to downplaying or dismissing them out of laziness or doubt.  It can be easier to ignore them, feign ignorance, or justify their meaninglessness, allowing me to sit in my familiar comfort zone and go on pretending that I don’t know what I need to do rather than having to get uncomfortable taking new and unfamiliar action.  Not today – she was in my face, staring me down, almost daring me to ignore the voice of my soul.

The messages and symbology of my Spider are many and varied, and I have a tendency to psychoanalyse them til the cows come home, which is really not the way that soul communication works.  But putting aside the intricacies of who she is in my life, today her message was loud and clear: Slow down.  Take note.  Go within.  Listen.  The answers are within.  Your effect on the world is determined by your consciousness.

I’ve been hearing these whispers the past few months, but they’ve been quiet enough that I’ve managed to override them with reasoning that seems so sensible that it’s been easy to follow: You’ve got work to do, you don’t have time to slow down.  You can get to that later.  You’re building a new business.  And you love it, you’re committed to it, it’s in alignment with your desires and values and visions, you have a purpose now, so you’ve got to get on with it!  Action action action!  Just do all the things first, then you can get back to the business of soul alignment.

Ha.  You’d think I would have learnt that lesson by now.  It turns out old habits die hard, especially when they’re upheld by societal trends and norms.  And what has the outcome been for me?  Anxiety.  Unnecessary stress.  Lack of flow.  Anguish.  Despair.  The pain in my heart.

As I began more deeply exploring the spiritual path a few years ago, I thought that the answers to my yearning for a purpose-driven life would be neatly spelt out for me with step by step instructions handed to me by my soul.  In hindsight, it’s no surprise that I struggled with that soul journey, and have as yet been unable to complete it, given how ego driven it was.  Because here’s the thing: the soul’s journey operates in a completely different paradigm to the ego’s desires.

Purpose is not necessarily a fixed task.  A God-given mission does not necessarily align with modern ideals of a stellar career and financial “success”, however you define that.  And whilst it is perfectly possibly to create these successes in alignment with your divine purpose, I’m coming to realise that much of my soul searching and yearning has in fact been an ego driven desire for significance, recognition, specialness and worthiness.  I’m quite certain I’m not alone in that.

My Spider was reminding me that consciousness is the only way forward.  The quality of my consciousness impacts my experience of life, impacts those I interact with, impacts the world, indeed the Universe.  My heart chakra pain had a message for me, and I needed to face it square on, acknowledge it, feel it, accept its presence, and bring the full light of my consciousness to it, for it to be transmuted.  Continuing to avoid the pain would have prolonged it and made it worse as it grews in an effort to make itself heard.  My body, my soul, the Universe, were all telling me that I was off course, because the truth of my desire is that I want to weave webs of consciousness that will positively impact the Universe.


So many of us are disconnected.  From our bodies, our environments, each other, our souls, the Universe.  Our culture does not support a way of being in which we can tune in and connect and be guided towards healing and deep satisfaction.  We are so heavily scheduled, rushed, pressured, and distracted that we become disconnected and disengaged.  It strikes me that so many of us are so disconnected that we don’t even notice our pain.  It blends into the background.  We don’t realise how sick we are or how unwell we feel, until it grows to a point where it’s impossible to ignore: disease, severe pain, catastrophic life events.  We don’t realise that our bodies, our souls, the Universe, are constantly in communication with us, offering warning signals that we’re heading down an unfavourable path and that we’d be wise to course correct.  We’ve forgotten how to receive and interpret that communication.  We’re too distracted and focused on externalities to hear the quiet whispers.  We have bought into the modern mantra of busy-ness, constantly doing and striving.  We don’t even realise that we could feel so much better than we do, we aren’t even aware that we’ve accepted that feeling pretty crap is just how life is.  So many of us are deaf and blind to what is possible, how good it can be.  We don’t take action to improve things or even acknowledge what isn’t working, until we reach breaking point and crisis hits.

We’ve forgotten that:

  • We are inherently lovable, loved, and worthy, without needing to earn it.
  • We are of God/the Universe, therefore all the answers we seek are within.
  • Working and striving and seeking won’t bring answers. Getting still, quiet, and going within will.

This doesn’t mean that we should all sit around navel gazing and twiddling our thumbs.  What it does mean is that when our minds and our lives are overflowing with chaos and confusion and endless distraction, it’s an act of courage and commitment (and ultimately, productivity) to consciously slow down and turn inward.  If we are to live lives of meaning and contribution and fulfilment and divine purpose, the action that achieves that must be fuelled by connection to our divinity, which is found by going within.  It cannot come from a sense of duty or obligation or pressure derived from external sources.  Soul alignment doesn’t happen through blindly following societal norms, or even forcing yourself to conform to someone else’s idea of conscious living.

So give yourself a break.  Stop pushing so hard.  Take a stand for your life and your legacy and opt out of the disconnection.  Become aware of the unending impulse to be numbed out with mindless entertainment via ever-available devices and their social media rabbit holes designed to lure and capture us with distraction and quasi-connection.  Remove the overwork, over-scheduling, overwhelm and busy-ness from the pedestal that society seems to have placed it on – it has no place there whatsoever, and it’s killing us.  I dare you to slow down, get quiet, and listen.  Listen to your body, feel its sensations.  Notice your thoughts.  Cultivate an ability to cut through the thoughts so that you may hear the voice of your soul.  And discover a life worth living.

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Mindfulness: A practice, not a desination

I’ve spend much of the past three months forgetting to apply much of what I’ve learnt over the past three and a half years. I’ve been focused on the future, attached to a specific idea of success, falling into old habitual thought patterns, and failing to practice presence.

The effects of this have not been pretty. Yearning, worrying, failing, and then judging myself for said failures, criticising myself, and then feeling self loathing, shame, despair, anguish, and excruciating frustration. All of which continues in a negative loop.

Self analysis comes easily to me and I am self aware. I’ve been able to see what I’m doing and how it’s affecting my world, but the excruciating part has been feeling powerless to change it. Especially when I know that I have the tools.

None of this is actually all that surprising. You see, this new journey I’m on with building a dōTERRA business is stretching me like nothing before. It’s taking me out of my comfort zone, and forcing me to address blockages and pain points that I’ve avoided and hidden from for years. And as a result, my ego is going bananas, fighting tooth and nail to survive.

You see, the ego is an ancient evolutionary survival mechanism. Its purpose is to keep us alive and safe. It evolved to ensure that we would focus on danger, threats and negativity (such as the tiger that might be hunting us or the condemnation of our tribe that might see us thrown out and left unprotected) and then do whatever it takes to prevent them from eventuating. And it’s bloody good at its job – because back in the day, it was quite literally a matter of life and death.

So my ego is keenly aware that if I am to achieve the vision I’ve created for my business, I’m going to have to do things that feel very threatening:

  • Share and speak my truth in ways that will resonate with some, but that will be negatively judged by others: there will be people who won’t like me and my message.
  • Drop negative subconscious programming around “success” and generating income, which will take me into unchartered waters i.e. unfamiliarity and discomfort.
  • Drop my habitual thought patterns of “I’m a failure”, “I’m incapable”, “I’m ashamed of myself”, “I’m not good enough”, and “I’ll never succeed”, which are all very effective at keeping me small and safe and dependent.

So whilst I’ve been wallowing in despair, anguish, self hate and frustration, my ego has been high fiving itself for a job well done. Cause there ain’t no one gonna build a successful business off the back of that!

I writhed with the pain and frustration of knowing that I have the tools to move through this yet felt so completely stuck. I could observe my thoughts and see what my ego was doing and why. Yet I couldn’t separate myself from it. I watched helplessly as my ego took the driver’s seat, and pummelled me down even further as I hated on myself for being so stuck.

Then one day last week I had an instant of clarity. I was in the kitchen, despairing about my latest results, when I suddenly realised I was buying into a story of failure and what that meant. I realised that I actually had a choice as to whether I allowed these results to send me into wallowing self-pity and despair. I could actually conjure any alternative story of my liking – for example, I could accept the results, and recognise them as a step towards learning and progress and ultimate success. Or I could drop any idea of story altogether – the results are the results, and without my mind-created thoughts and judgements, they have no meaning. Whatever the case, I could instantly let go of the story that this was a situation worthy of despair and self criticism. And importantly, I noticed that buying in to the negative story is what comes automatically. And despite the pain, there is an aspect of the negativity that is comfortable and so easy to choose, because it’s familiar and safe. Choosing differently requires bravery and diligent effort.

It hasn’t been a fast and complete turnaround since that revelation, but it’s reminded me to come back, once again, to my mindfulness and presence practice. Without ongoing and intentional diligence and persistence, I will continue to be overcome by my ego, finding it in the driver’s seat of my life again and again. She’s got staying power.

So it’s back to The Power of Now. Back to my mindfulness resources. Back to my practice. Back to the continual, moment by moment remembrance that I have a choice – to identify with my ego, or identify with my higher self. I’ve remembered that results are subjective. Whilst they hold importance when we consider things like being able to pay the bills, put food on the table and a roof over out head, focusing on them is not conducive to success. When we focus on the now, and act from a place of love, service and faith, our needs are met.


Main image photo by me.

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Self-care soul warnings

I woke up one morning 2 weeks ago, having had another of my recurring dreams.

The recurring dreams I have aren’t exactly the same, but they have a recurring theme.  Each time I have one of these dreams, I am observing lions, tigers, or big cats of some sort, in an enclosure, sometimes at a zoo and other times in some other random setting.  The thing that is unusual about this is that in every dream, I eventually discover that the enclosure is not secure – either a gate has been left unlocked, or the fence is broken, or sometimes it’s even just a matter of me suddenly realising that this ain’t no regular big cat enclosure – wire farm fencing or flywire is hardly going to protect me if they decide they want to come and play.

I’ve pondered on the meaning of these recurring dreams over the years.  Of course there are many different interpretation guidelines and methods I could follow, but I prefer to take the intuitive route.  I’ve always felt into my dreams, to contemplate what emotions they evoke, and how they make me feel, and what the themes and specifics symbolise for me personally.

My hunch has always been that these dreams are a warning signal for me.  A soul warning that whilst on the surface things may seem to be hunky-dory, I’m actually in dangerous territory.  It feels as though I’m not paying adequate attention to a situation that seems to be under control right now, but that won’t take much to turn into full blown and life-threatening catastrophe.

I’ve wondered what specifically these dreams are pointing to.  What is it that I’m not being careful enough with?  The past 3 years in particular have seen me dedicate to working on improving my life by practicing self-care from a spiritual and energetic perspective, and I feel incredibly grateful that I’ve found and followed this path.  If I hadn’t made the changes I’ve made, I believe I’d be in a state of worsening depression and overall mental health, and declining physical health.  So I felt that even though I couldn’t pinpoint the specifics of where I was in danger, I felt as though I was taking proactive action from a broad perspective.

So, when this dream cropped up again the other week, it caught me off guard.  Haven’t I come so far?  Aren’t I doing all the right things?

Pondering this again has prompted me to get a lot more real with myself this past week.  I’m doing a lot of stuff “right”.  I generally eat very well, I exercise, I meditate, I do yoga, I manage my energy, and more recently I’ve begun incorporating my new love – essential oils – into my life for their therapeutic benefits.  But the truth is, in so many ways, I’m ignoring a number of aspects of my self-care that are having a negative impact on my health.  I’ve made no secret over the years of the fact that I struggle with disciplining myself to get adequate sleep.  There are days when I eat an entire block of chocolate within the space of 15 minutes, kidding myself that because its 95% cocoa it’s “healthy” and therefore ok.  And since beginning my business, I’ve really succumbed to the compulsion to be “on” all the time – checking and responding to emails and messages into the night and first thing when I rise.  Then there’s also the “I don’t have time” excuse creeping in here and there: my daily morning walks have become “sometimes”, and there have been a few too many instances where I’ve let my meditation practice slide.

The truth is, whilst deep down I know these actions aren’t helpful, I do them mindlessly.  I slip into habits that are supported by cultural and societal norms.  I allow my conscientiousness and work ethic to dictate over and above my inner knowing.  I zone out and let my actions happen, rather than acting with intention.  I let my ego take the driver’s seat, bowing to her justifications for emotional eating and behaviours that set my nervous system on edge.

And when my inner truth, the voice of my soul, gently whispers to me that I know full well that these behaviours aren’t helpful or sustainable or aligned, I pretend that I can’t hear her, or that I don’t know how to do things differently, feigning helplessness.

This recent dream has prompted me to sit a little more still with these gentle whisperings.  When I do so, it’s quite laughable how hypocritical I have been, always singing the praises of self-care, energy work and alignment, and yet completely disregarding the truth of my actions.

I started this business for so many wonderful reasons, many of which centre around how it gives me the freedom and autonomy to work the way I want to work – in a way that is sustainable and flexible for me and my family.  I work this business educating others about the importance of improving our health and wellbeing using simple and natural self-care solutions, and yet here I am sabotaging all the efforts I do make.  The leaders within my team promote self-care and sustainable work habits as essential to our success.  And yet, my ego does its best to convince me that I can get away with these dirty little secrets by making up for them with the good stuff that I do actually do.

But that’s not how it works.

As I sit with these truths, I can acknowledge that when I’m not getting the sleep I need, my mind isn’t as sharp, it takes me longer to complete just about everything, and I don’t look my best.  Added to that the longer term health implications of inadequate sleep in general, coupled with the hormonal imbalances and disease I am challenged with.  When I wire my nervous system with screen time into the evening and night, my sleep is affected.  When I drown my sorrows in a block of (oh-so-delicious) chocolate, the pleasure only lasts as long as the mouthful takes to swallow, and I’m left with the sugar crash that inevitably follows.  When I skip a few too many morning walks, my body gradually becomes stiffer and I feel less and less grounded.  The cumulative effects of all of these actions include sluggish digestion, mental fogginess, skin breakouts, susceptibility to illness, long term health decline, inability to practice mindfulness, mood swings, difficulty articulating myself clearly …  this list is nowhere near exhaustive.

We all know, deep down, what we should and shouldn’t be doing.

So if we know this, why do we sabotage ourselves?  I think there are a few key reasons.

Firstly, we are seduced by the notion that ignorance is bliss, that if we just squish that little niggling, knowing voice down far enough, we can hide out in the luxury of shunning responsibility for our lives.  This happens so easily and comfortably that we’re virtually unconscious of it.

The ignorant path may seem the easier option in the moment, but when we live our lives day in and day out with the consequences of our actions, the “easy” option doesn’t seem so easy to live with.  We’re forced to live with the pain of our karma.

The truth is, we essentially know what we need to change about our behaviour.  Acknowledgement is the first step.  Then it’s a matter of taking responsibility to create the kind of life that we want to live, a life that makes us feel good.  So, why don’t we do this?

This brings me to the second key reason we sabotage ourselves.  As I’ve sat with this topic since having my most recent dream, the answer has become clearer with each passing day.  I believe it comes down to our egoic yearning for approval.  Let me explain.

So often, when chatting with friends and fellow mums in particular, I find that we’re all having an almost universal experience in our daily lives: the feelings of being perpetually busy, over-extended, drained, overwhelmed, stressed, unable to get ahead, and constantly tired or even exhausted.  And what is also almost universally similar is that so many of us feel powerless to change by implementing self-care habits that will turn this situation around.  We know we should exercise more, we know meditation could help, we know we need more down time, we know we need to review our diet, we know we should get more sleep … BUT, these things require effort and energy and time.  So, we repeat the mantra of our societal era: I DON’T HAVE TIME.

The very idea of practicing self-care feels like adding more to our already overloaded list.  So what do we do?  Nothing.  We lament the so-called fact that we just don’t have the time or space to implement these changes.

We don’t prioritise ourselves.

The truth is, we could swap out these changes for other stuff that we are doing, but we don’t make them a priority, so they fall to the bottom of the list where to-do’s that are never-gonna-happen live.

I believe there is an insidious little cultural norm that drives this pattern.  We do what appears “right” from an external perspective.  We are terrified that if we actually prioritised our health and wellbeing before anything else, that we would be judged and condemned as selfish, uncaring parents, heartless citizens, and just plain bad human beings.  We think that everyone believes that self-care is a luxury for the self-centred.

We know deep down that if we took prime care of ourselves, we would have more health, energy, and vigour to gift to our families and the world.  We would get more done in less time.  We would succumb to illness less often.  We would have the energy and motivation to give our everything to the causes that most touch our hearts.  But our ego slyly pipes up with that devastating question that shuts down our sensibility: What will everyone think of me?

What will my children think?
What will my spouse think?
What will my family think?
What will the school mums think?
What will the neighbours think?
What will my employer think?
What will my work colleagues think?
What will the world think?

And as quickly as that, we place everyone else’s opinion of us before our own knowing.

The point I’m trying to make here is not to make you feel bad about yourself.  Rather, I’m observing that we all slip into habits of thinking and behaviour that society deems normal or required in modern life, and we allow these habits to derail us.  The team I am a part of in my business fully promotes and supports sustainable self-care, lifestyle and work habits to support our wellbeing, and yet it has been SO EASY for me to disregard these and slip into habits that leave me depleted, all the while telling myself that I’m practicing adequate self-care.

Looking after ourselves isn’t rocket science.  But I’m discovering that it takes courage.

Are you triggered by this idea?  Do you feel helpless and trapped in your current circumstances?

I challenge you to sit with this notion that your wellbeing is completely within your control, and that you know what to do, right now, and that you actually can do it.  I’m not downplaying the challenges that so many of us face in our everyday lives, but I truly believe that you can create true wellbeing for yourself.  I truly believe that if you are privileged enough to be reading this right now, you have the power within you to shape your experience of life.

It’s time to take stock of our lives, and notice the areas where we are vulnerable: where are we ignorant of the fact that the lion enclosure isn’t protecting us?  I for one am spending this time in the lead up to Christmas and the new year getting real with myself about where I’m shirking my self-care responsibility and succumbing to the herd mentality that it’s all too hard to create a life of health, wellbeing, and success that incorporates caring for myself as well as others.  I’m building the courage, step by step, moment by moment, to take a stand for prioritising my self-care.  I invite you to join me in creating a 2018 where we dare to buck the trend, and place our self-care at the top of our lists.  Let’s not leave it to fate to determine whether we find ourselves suddenly face to face with a metaphorical lion, all because of our fear of judgement.  Let’s be brave together.

 


You may also find this post relevant to this topic.

Also see the previous post for ideas on how to get started with cultivating calm.


Relevant resources that I stumbled upon in the lead up to writing this post:

The Kate & Mike Show podcast: Karen Brody, Daring to Rest: https://katenorthrup.com/podcast/episode-64-karen-brody-daring-rest/

The Quote of the Day Show podcast: Work Doesn’t Work Without Play, with Shonda Rhimes: http://seancroxton.com/quote-of-the-day/289/


Main image credit: Lions by Christopher Michel via Flickr.  Used under licence.


Hmmm … seems I have a bit of a thing for lion images 😉

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Perfectly imperfect – the bumpy ride is better than no ride

Oh it’s been a bumpy ride so far, this new business venture and adventure!

I’ve been so challenged with finding balance, because I’m so lit up by this “work”, and I just want to do all-the-things and share with everyone!

I’ve been so challenged with staying true to my why, to my intentions, with staying aligned.

I’ve found myself so easily falling into the dark holes of FOMO (fear of missing out), rushing to “get there”, comparison, and trying to emulate my mentors instead of sticking to my own path.

I’m loving what I’m doing, and I’m on fire with the message of the oils, the empowerment of the business opportunity, and the philanthropic heart of the company I’m partnering with. This is not the issue.

The issue is falling into old habits and thought patterns, allowing my ego to creep back into the driver’s seat intermittently.  I find myself with a scarcity mindset, feeling fearful, being in a lack mentality.  I find myself worrying, I find myself operating from a place of fear of failure, which has me slip into desperation mode.  This all drives me into old behavioural patterns of poor boundaries, working late, and getting inadequate rest.  This leaves me feeling tired (or exhausted), overwhelmed, ungrounded, forgetful, and foggy, and all this leads me become at risk of triggering or worsening my health challenges, and making poor choices.  This becomes a perpetual downward spiral, and sees me focusing on unaligned goals out of a desire for validation, approval, and praise.  And then, I recognise all this and I feel bad that I’m doing this to myself, and that it has a negative impact on those around me.

Gosh, that’s draining just to write!!

So why am I sharing this story of woe with you?

Because, as always, I know that if I’m experiencing it, someone else is too.  Because in my lessons, you may find lessons relevant to your own path.

None of us is perfect.  We each have our “bad” habits, tendencies, and negative programming that keeps us stuck.

We each have the voice of our ego telling us that we’re inadequate and doomed to fail, that we may as well give up.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t do good in the world.  It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it a go, that you shouldn’t give it your best.  It certainly doesn’t mean that you will fail.

What it does mean is that you’re human.  Every single human, including all those out there who appear to be “successful” (however you define that for yourself), have an ego that tells them just these kinds of thoughts every day.  The key is, not everyone listens to it.  Not everyone believes what their ego has to say, or allows it to dictate their actions.

What it does mean is that the road may be a little (or a lot) bumpy.  You will no doubt make mistakes.  No matter how much your inner perfectionist strives for impeccability, it won’t all be perfection.

The point is, it doesn’t matter.

When you notice your mistakes, fix them.  When you recognise the voice of your ego, don’t believe its words, or allow them to dictate your actions.  When you see you’re stumbling or veering off course, pick yourself up, re-establish your footing, and course correct.

Keep coming back to your why.  Keep coming home to your soul.

The universe is forgiving.  You won’t be marked down for getting sidetracked or swept up in egoic delusion.  Every time you return to your soul, all is forgiven.  The slate is wiped clean.  Just ask for guidance and help, and trust that the answer is given before the request is even made.

You don’t need to be perfect, or get it all perfect.

I’m so glad that I’m in a place energetically where I don’t allow these challenges to stop me.  I’m so glad that I can recognise and observe what I’m doing, forgive myself, and course correct.  I’m so grateful that I have my spiritual tools to keep me on track or to get me back on track.

Do what your soul guides you to do, and it will all be perfectly imperfect.  It’s all part of the human experience.


Image credit: via Death to the Stock Photo, used under license.

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Forging Faith

Forging Faith

Faith.

What does it mean? What does it mean to you?

I’ve been pondering this a bit recently. Through the inevitable ups and downs of life, the ebb and flow, I’ve questioned the strength of my faith, and even whether I have any at all.

The Oxford Dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something”, or “strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof”. For me personally, in this context, faith is my complete trust, confidence and conviction in my spirituality, my spiritual practices, and the spiritual teachings I follow, regardless of any proof or lack thereof.

So, the question I’ve asked myself lately is, do I possess unwavering trust and confidence in my spiritual journey?

The answer, I’m afraid, is no.

But it’s not a terrible thing, and it’s something I’m constantly strengthening with my daily devotion. Let me explain.

When things are great and I’m flying high, it’s so easy to have faith, to trust that I’m headed in the right direction, and that my spirituality is my guiding light. But on the down days, when life feels like a slog, it’s so easy to ditch that faith straight into the rubbish bin, convincing myself in my negative downward spiral of ego-identified suffering that “this sh*t doesn’t work”.

I’ve found myself there many a time. With infuriating frustration, I agonise over why it’s not working for me, why I’m failing despite my dedicated practice, that I must be defective because it’s working for everybody else. I get enmeshed and weighed down in expectations and comparison. I throw my faith out the window with the temperament of a 3 year old throwing a tantrum.

But I am determined. I claw my way back, eventually, into the upswing. And when I do, I laugh at how my descent into suffering is not only part of life for the unenlightened, but that when I’m down I rub dirt into the wound by failing to be vigilant and on guard with one key spiritual practice: mindfulness. I identify with the ego who tells me all these sickening lies, and I believe them. I might sometimes manage to observe my negative thoughts, but even when I do, I often find myself forgetting to disidentify with them, and believing them regardless.

The key here: this is a practice. I’m realising that faith isn’t something thta is necessarily unwavering, is something that I need to practice, just like my spiritual practices. It doesn’t matter, in the scheme of things, if my faith seems to waver from time to time as I descend into an ebb, because I’ve embedded my spiritual practices deeply enough into my everyday living, through devoted repetition, day after day after day, that I KNOW I will come out the other side, rising like the phoenix from the ashes. And I trust – I have faith – that with more practice, I’ll increasingly improve my ability to disidentify from my ego, and those ebbs will become less dramatic, and be fewer and further between.

But there is another aspect to this faith question that has arisen for me. The catalyst for my foray into my spiritual path was my recurrent struggle with mental health, which, amongst other drivers, was largely fuelled by a persistent yearning to find my way, to know and live my purpose for being here in this life. As such, whilst I’m coming to terms with the fact that this doesn’t necessarily look the way my ego wants it to – a concise job description that, if I follow it, will definitively bring me joy and complete fulfilment from now until my last breath – there is a part of me that has continued to seek a specific level of connection to God that will guide me on my correct path. To put it more specifically: I’ve been waiting for my intuition to kick in and ramp up, so that I can make confident choices and take actions that feel aligned with my soul. I’ve had faith that through working on my energy, through strengthening my chakras, I’ll learn to connect to that inner guidance, that indwelling divinity. I’ve had faith that I’ll become strong in my certainty that my third eye intuits with accuracy and precision, that my solar plexus communicates to me definitively. That my heart communicates with clear distinction from my head. That I can access my chakra eight and communicate with my soul with ease and clarity. Almost three years into my journey, I’ve questioned why I’m not there yet, as though the spiritual path has a final destination with a due date. I’ve had such faith that this path is THE path for me, but the test of time has strained that faith. I’ve been impatient. I’ve questioned why, after so much devotion, I’ve still felt so lost. It’s hard to keep the faith when you aren’t getting what you want in your anticipated timeframe, when you’re stuck in egoic thoughts about what should or shouldn’t be happening. But like I said before, I’m determined, and I’ve clung on to that faith.

Something about this quandary has shifted significantly for me very recently. I could attempt to attribute it to one of a number of specific things, but ultimately I think it’s a culmination of everything leading up to now – my continued devotion to my spiritual practice, some energy healing work I’ve done with a few practitioners, my readiness to begin working with intention setting, all the self help and spirituality books and podcasts I love to gorge on, the affirmations I’ve been repeating, the EFT tapping I’ve been experimenting with, divine timing, external conditions, perhaps even the full moon lunar eclipse and this lions gate thing everyone’s been banging on about! I’ve recognised that some of my negative subconscious programming has been rewritten. Areas in which I’ve previously felt so blocked have suddenly become free-flowing, unhindered, non-issues. It feels miraculous and magical. I’ve found myself doing certain things, without having given them much (if any) thought or effort. I’ve found myself unconcerned with potential challenges and stumbling blocks, inherently knowing that I’ll find any necessary solutions, but not consciously thinking through this as a strategy. I’ve then found myself, at random times (like when I’m on the toilet!!!) instantly coming up with solutions to challenges that I didn’t even realise I was attempting to solve. I’ve found myself taking constructive actions almost impulsively, which previously would have taken much self-coercion and motivation mustering. Things that previously I allowed fear to hold me back from, now I’m boldly marching towards with conviction and FAITH that it’s the right direction to move in, and that even if I fail, it’s all part of the journey.

What I’m coming to realise is that surrender is a big part of faith, that letting go and allowing the natural intelligence of the universe to flow unhindered through me is key. When I have faith, I know that there’s no need to strive, no need to worry, no need to push. I trust that I’m guided, and that even if I take a wrong turn, I can get back on track and appreciate the detour for the lessons that it gave me. But previously, surrender has felt infuriatingly elusive. How does one simply “let go” of trying to do everything we can to obtain something we want so desperately?

Six weeks ago I began working with the “Lunar Abundance” practice created by Dr Ezzie Spencer in her book, “An Abundant Life: Flourishing with the cycles of the Moon”. Ezzie’s practice provides a framework whereby you set a feelings based intention at the new moon, and then use the lunar cycle as a natural time keeper and self reflection tool to manifest your intention. At the last new moon, I found myself setting my second ever lunar abundance intention:

I feel safe, held and supported, trusting and knowing that the divine within me is constantly guiding me towards living my souls purpose.

Little did I realise what I was conjuring with this intention. The setting of it arose organically and intuitively through the process, and I assumed it was about my ongoing desire to discover my souls purpose. But I was also actually asking to find my faith. Following the practice, in which I intentionally felt and embodied those feelings of safety, of being held and supported, of trusting and knowing that I’m being guided by God towards my purpose, I was manifesting. I was making magic. It felt so sublimely good to feel the way I wanted to feel, and by intentionally doing so, I believe I flicked a metaphysical switch that had me realise that I’m now feeling the feelings because I already am being guided. I realised at the full moon that I didn’t have to imagine the intention manifesting in order to feel the feelings, because the intention already was manifest, and the guidance had been there all along – I just hadn’t recognised it before. I just need to feel the feelings and then remember that the divine is always working through me. It was around this time that the shift took place, and things began to flow. Like I said before, I believe it was a culmination of multiple contributing factors that brought me to this shift point, but this specific aspect felt particularly relevant and enlightening, highlighting for me what had changed. It was so easy. I’m in awe.

So am I insured from ever again losing my faith in this respect? Well I’m not sure, probably not. As in my more general spiritual journey, it’s possible that there may be times that my faith will waver, but I believe that I have the tools and practices that will always bring me back into alignment and back to my sense of faith. Faith therefore isn’t something I have to feel obliged to perpetually uphold in an attempt to maintain a spiritual identity, but something that I can trust will always be available to me when I’m ready to come home to myself after the inevitable missteps into suffering.


Main image credit: Rainbows 526 by Rocky Raybel via Flickr.  Used under licence.

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